Saturday, May 19, 2007

An E.M. Bounds Synchronicity

What a pleasant and peaceful Saturday. Older daughter is keeping us updated with text messages from the state track meet in Des Moines, where the team she coaches is involved, plus some runners from our local school district. Wow, a perfect day for that! Older son and his girlfriend headed to a nearby state park for some hiking and a picnic. Younger daughter......well, who knows where she graduation parties, probably. Younger son......he's here at home shooting hoops. Husband......snoring on the living room floor.

Found out yesterday that our neighbor lady hasn't been feeling well, so I just got back from walking over there with a casserole. Unfortunately, no one was home, and with their snarly spitz dog barking at me from inside I decided not to try and go in and put the pan in the fridge. I'll just have to drive over there later. The one and 1/2 mile walk was pleasant, although the casserole basket got very heavy, and I felt like Little Red Riding Hood.

Along the way, in the roadside ditch are blooming patches of Sweet William, a wildflower whose proper name is Prairie Phlox, I believe. Their colors varied from white to lavendar to fuchsia. Very lovely!

Yesterday an interesting little synchronicity occurred when I was shopping in the Christian bookstore. I had stopped there to try and find a graduation gift for my daughter. Always when there, I like to glance over the bargain book table. I quickly scanned the titles, not really looking for anything in particular. For some reason, one book title jumped out at me......The Complete Works of E.M. Bounds on Prayer. I thought to myself....."Who is E.M. Bounds? That's an odd name." Then I walked on over to the bookmark rack to browse. The store was very quiet and I soon became aware of a conversation nearby between an older male customer and a store clerk. The customer was asking, "Do you have any books by E.M. Bounds?" He must have been looking on the regular bookshelves. The clerk replied that she would go look in the back room. Being quite interested by then, I listened for what she said when she returned....."No, we don't have any books by E.M. Bounds right now." I then stepped around the shelves to where the man was standing and I took him over to the bargain book table and showed him the book by E.M. Bounds. Later, I noticed that he did purchase it. The clerk asked him where he had found it and he told her. Anyway, it must have been meant to be that he have that book!

This morning I googled "E.M. Bounds". His full name was Edward McKendree Bounds and he lived from 1835 to 1913, and was a Methodist pastor in the southern U.S. His great focus in life was prayer. He used to pray every morning from 4 a.m. to 7 a.m., during what he called the "great-while-before-day" hour. He wrote several books on prayer, and the book I saw was a compilation of all of them. Maybe I'll take a closer look at it next time I'm at the bookstore.

For anyone who doesn't believe in synchronicity, or thinks it is something that new agers came up with, I am here to tell you that it does occur, and the above incident is a prime example. This is not the first time I've experienced such a thing. I had known over the years that many odd things had happened in my life and finally while reading a book one time, I ran across the word "synchronicity" and its meaning, and then many things became clear to me. The ancient Greeks knew about it and some physicists today even study this phenomenon; possibly quantum physics is involved. Be mindfully aware and pay attention to what is going on around you. These types of "meaningful coincidences" are occurring all the time, but most of us just never notice!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Post-Mother's Day Thoughts

Obviously, I've let springtime cause me to neglect blogging. Not that it really matters, of course, but since this blog was created with the intention of posting regularly, I need to get back to that. This post's title indicates a Mother's Day theme, but first some thoughts on spring-planting.....
The regreening of our part of the earth has once again prompted much outdoor activity. Tractors rumble through the fields towing plows and planters. Pickups filled with sacks of seed corn sit at edges of fields, in readiness for the farmer's next stop to refill planter boxes. Planting equipment is quite high-tech now, with electronic sensers which keep the farmer in his tractor informed about the operation of the planter being pulled behind. Flashing lights and beepers will let him know if something is amiss. It seems the planters get bigger every year. When I was a kid, everyone used four-row planters. Now its common to see 24-row planters.

The worst thing is when you get a good whiff of odorous farm chemicals being sprayed on the fields. I had to shut all the windows the other day because a strong east wind kept bringing that awful chemical smell from the farm next door. Although I'm fully aware of the benefits of utilizing herbicides and pesticides, deep inside I wish that they didn't have to be used. They pollute and they stink. But, it's a tradeoff, I guess, for farm chemicals do allow farmers to efficiently produce food to feed the world.

As for Mother's Day......the other day I read of the true origin of this holiday. It actually originated as "Mothers Day for Peace" in the late 1800's. A woman named Julia Ward Howe, after seeing the ravages of wars in the U.S. and Europe, called for mothers to unite to promote peace in the world. Hmm. Somehow, this Mothers Day for Peace became the day for mothers themselves to be honored. Not that there is anything wrong with that, of course. Plus, think of all the greeting cards and gifts that are produced and sold, providing a boost to the economy. Hmm.

We don't celebrate Mother's Day too heavily around this household. It's like most every other Sunday......we go to church, come home and Mom fixes dinner. That's OK with me. My sons gave me hugs. My older daughter phoned and sent a card and gift certificate. My younger daughter gave me two candles, kitchen towels, and a DVD (one that she must have been wanting to see for she watched it right away!). Husband's mother passed away many years ago. My own mother is on a river cruise in Russia......I gave her a card and gift before she left. I can't wait to hear about Moscow and St. Petersburg!

Yesterday we had strong winds all day long and unseasonably warm temperatures. It actually was hot! I spent most of the day outdoors, and it seemed otherworldly out there. The sound of the wind roaring through the pine trees made me feel caught up in another dimension, enveloped about by constant sound and the warm whirling wind. A wonderful day, but tiring. Sun and wind really make me feel worn out.

Last evening after chores, as I was ready to collapse into the recliner, my daughter became frantic because the printer ran out of ink as she was trying to finish her senior English portfolio. So I had to do something I try to avoid.....running to town for just one item. I sped 20 miles to Super Walmart....they were out of the ink I was looking for. Then on to another Super Walmart, where they were out of that ink, too. (We have too many Walmarts around here.) Good grief! And it was getting late. Back in the car I happened to hear a radio commercial for Office Depot, so I headed there right before they closed, and they had just what I needed. Next time I will go there first.

Today the chilly weather has returned. A good day to stay inside blogging and baking cookies. Husband and I have started doing the newspaper Jumbles, ciphers, and crossword puzzles together over lunch. Surprisingly to me, it is alot of fun. And Husband seems to enjoy it, too. You never know what will turn out to be fun and enjoyable sometimes.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Remembering the Planters

On Monday I made a trip to town to buy garden seeds and plants. Last year I didn't get a garden put in because we were caught up in a house remodeling project. Actually, for the past many years I've really been lacking in enthusiasm for gardening. It seemed that the springtime months would get so busy that I just didn't have time for yardwork other than lawn mowing. Through eighth grade our kids all attended a Lutheran dayschool which had sports starting in fifth grade. We played against schools in our Lutheran district, but many of those events were over an hour away, so most Saturdays would be spent driving to and sitting at games. At the time, I thought I enjoyed all that running around, but now, I'm relieved to have those years behind me. Also, our school had lots of tasks for volunteers to do, so I spent time doing that, too. Twenty years were spent focused on that school......that is enough. And I retired from the church ladies group, too. It seemed pointless to go sit at meetings and yack about what we could do next to raise money. I had enough of that! I'm so happy to just stay home most of the time......and there is plenty to do here. Never a dull moment, and if nothing else, I can always find a quiet spot to relax and enjoy my favorite pastime, reading.

Anyway, its with pleasant surprise that I find myself in the mood for gardening. In a shady flower bed area I planted pansies (my favorite), violas, and lobelia. Hopefully, the dogs and cats won't traipse around in there and break off the flowers. My perennials are shooting up now that the days are sunny and warm. Coneflowers, black-eyed susans, bleeding hearts, hostas, asters, phlox. Perennials are great.....they grow themselves!

After hoeing the garden up good, I planted eight tomato plants. Four Early Girl and four Better Boy. Those varieties have been around forever......I remember my mom planting them. Also, I put in four hills of pumpkins for fall decorating. For the past few years I've purchased pumpkins, so hopefully this year I won't have to do that. I planted one hill of cucumber, called "armenian". Its supposed to be crispy and not bitter. We'll see. Also, I put in gladiolas, marigolds and zinnias.

As I hoed and planted and watered, my mind wandered back through the years, to the memories of people who were "planters" of many types. My long-gone great-uncle, who never had the privilege of being a parent, but always had a huge, gorgeous garden. There are lovely lilac bushes in my yard, thanks to him. He had emigrated from Germany along with his parents when he was three years old. When I was a little kid, with big ears, like kids usually have, I heard my mom say that Uncle didn't "believe in miracles". I pondered a long time about that, and wasn't sure what to make of it. He didn't go to church.....maybe he was an atheist.....I don't know. He sure had nice gardens, though.

My grandpa showed me how to plant garden seeds and plants. Flower seeds and tiny, fine seeds (like lettuce) in wide shallow rows. Peas and green bean seeds one by one in deeper rows since they are bigger seeds. The holes for the tomato, cabbage, and pepper plants need to have some water put in them first, then the plant can go in. Press the dirt firmly around them and make a circle around them. There would be our handprints in the dirt. Grampy died when I was nine and I still miss him. He planted not only garden plants, but also love.

May we all take time to remember and appreciate those who have planted seeds of faith, hope, and love in our lives.